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Rastus Reilly: Or Dashiell Hammett, Charles Dickens, H.P. Lovecraft, Stan Laurel, and Oliver Hardy on Bad Acid [Paperback]

Steve Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

October 2000
It's 1936. No, not really, I mean in this book, it's 1936. Lucretia Faversham, eminent Boston dowager, is on her last legs. She knows there is a Secret of Eternal Youth, hidden from mankind for centuries, but very real. Private eye Jake Stalker may be just the man to find it for her, but the road to the Secret, is paved with terrible perils. Will Jake be able to seize the Secret from the fearsome Elder Gods? Or will he get drunk instead? Maybe go to the pictures? Or just hang around someplace? Who the hell cares anyway. Just read the book. It's funny.

Product Details


Product Description

From the Publisher

Tired of reading good books? Check out this ridiculous, politically incorrect, and remarkably pointless novel. It's a general cultural satire, in the guise of a "hard-boiled detective" mystery spoof. The mystery has to do with the "Secrets of the Elder Gods": fans of the Lovecraftian "cosmic horror" corpus (which does lie in very ripe ground, after all) and everybody who enjoys irreverent humor, ought to read this one. Take off your fedora, pour yourself a glass of rye, light up a smoke, and laugh along with Rastus Reilly as you develop esophageal lesions. You only live once, kid!

About the Author

Steve Kelly is an unattractive and unpleasant man. He grew up around Boston but now lives in the Miami area. He is likely, therefore, eventually to die from skin cancers; this may be preferable, however, to the frostbite -- and resultant gangrene -- which inevitably tortures the life out of all Bostonians. Does Mr. Kelly enjoy a plateful or cobful of corn? Indeed he does. Yet he never eats creamed corn. Go figure.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read For Laughs Nov. 23 2002
I've just read this book a second time and am making a point of recommending it to my friends and to everybody reading here. This is a very crazy novel. In fact it's not so much a novel as a satire of novels. The author gets you interested in the story but there's some kind of gag on every page, so Kelly's book manages to mock every novel-writing convention, in the process of mocking itself. "The Maltese Falcon" is lampooned, as are H.P. Lovecraft's, and to a lesser extent Dickens's work specifically, but the humor ranges widely beyond just these targets. It's sharp but underlyingly good-natured humor. I'll never forget these patently ripe characters: a Sam Spade type, Jake Stalker, who seems to be coming out of the closet, Lucretia Faversham, elderly dowager, in search of rejuvenation while revelling in all the common vices, Veronica Volupturini, globe-trotting golddigger, Haggie the gin-swilling receptionist, Rastus Reilly himself, whose mere description is hilariously unforgettable, and a larger congregation of strangely loveable misfits Kelly describes bluntly as "lowlife swine." They're rather sweet swine, though, and that's part of what makes them funny. One character's impossibly long surname evokes conversational byplay that puts Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" to shame: this alone would make the book worth its price, but the laughs keep coming, from every direction. Bizarre characterization is certainly a strong point. The setting is Boston, Massachusetts, and a treasure-hunting cruise from there to the Caribbean, in the 1930s. Pacing is leisurely at first but the story builds to an adventurous conclusion. The tone can best be described as ridiculous. Read more ›
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read For Laughs Nov. 23 2002
By "bumpetybump" - Published on Amazon.com
I've just read this book a second time and am making a point of recommending it to my friends and to everybody reading here. This is a very crazy novel. In fact it's not so much a novel as a satire of novels. The author gets you interested in the story but there's some kind of gag on every page, so Kelly's book manages to mock every novel-writing convention, in the process of mocking itself. "The Maltese Falcon" is lampooned, as are H.P. Lovecraft's, and to a lesser extent Dickens's work specifically, but the humor ranges widely beyond just these targets. It's sharp but underlyingly good-natured humor. I'll never forget these patently ripe characters: a Sam Spade type, Jake Stalker, who seems to be coming out of the closet, Lucretia Faversham, elderly dowager, in search of rejuvenation while revelling in all the common vices, Veronica Volupturini, globe-trotting golddigger, Haggie the gin-swilling receptionist, Rastus Reilly himself, whose mere description is hilariously unforgettable, and a larger congregation of strangely loveable misfits Kelly describes bluntly as "lowlife swine." They're rather sweet swine, though, and that's part of what makes them funny. One character's impossibly long surname evokes conversational byplay that puts Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" to shame: this alone would make the book worth its price, but the laughs keep coming, from every direction. Bizarre characterization is certainly a strong point. The setting is Boston, Massachusetts, and a treasure-hunting cruise from there to the Caribbean, in the 1930s. Pacing is leisurely at first but the story builds to an adventurous conclusion. The tone can best be described as ridiculous. The writing style parodies numerous styles, as suggested by the subtitle, and manages to do this not just effectively, but fluidly as well: Kelly is a genuinely talented writer. The plot is simply a framework for laughter. The good guys, led by old lady Faversham and her hired gun Jake Stalker, have found out there is an ancient Secret of Eternal Youth, and they're chasing after it, hotly pursued by a fat and skinny pair of archly evil bad guys. I said this was a very crazy book. So if you like Crazy you'll love it. I did, enough to read it all over again, six months after my first reading, and I picked up on jokes I'd missed the first time. A+ for humor.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I think Douglas Adams has come back to life! Nov. 6 2001
By "kwoyach" - Published on Amazon.com
I was *beyond* pleasantly surprised by Rastus Reilly. Steve takes no prisoners when he parodies Laural and Hardy, Mark Twain, Stephen King, HP Lovecraft, and countless others. This book is funny from page one through the end, and I found myself wishing for more once it was finished! Of course, I drink a lot of beer, so what do I know?
I'll be watching for future releases from Steve Kelly, hope he lives for awhile and doesn't die of liver disorder.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovers of Funny Things Must Read This Book Jan. 12 2001
By Melody Sczarski - Published on Amazon.com
I have to say this book is one of the funniest things I have ever read. It's very naughty but in a nice way. It is also the most utterly absurd thing I have ever read. I think everybody who loves funny things has to read Rastus Reilly. I give this book five stars.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Hope You're Nuts Oct. 29 2001
By Roger Parkington - Published on Amazon.com
I'm a fan of Stephen King and I had just started reading H.P. Lovecraft's classic horror stories when I came across this unusual novel and decided to give it a try. First I'm going to warn readers who don't like completely crazy humor that they will not like Kelly's book. I do like crazy nut humor so I loved "Rastus Reilly." It's well written it's insane and it's a hoot. Knowing a little Lovecraft will help you enjoy this horror and mystery satire. In some parts of the book Kelly satires the Lovecraft writing style very well and obviously with affection. But you don't really have to know Lovecraft. You do have to be a little crazy like me to enjoy a novel as plain silly as this one. I liked it enough to write my first Amazon review and give this book the top rating but only for nutty humor fans.
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